Emancipation was proclaimed in Tallahassee-Leon County on May 20, 1865, eleven days after the end of the American Civil War and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed those enslaved in Southern states. The Proclamation was read by Union General Edward M. McCook from the steps of the Knott House, effectively ending slavery in the state of Florida.
One hundred and fifty-five years later, in 2020, Leon County became the first county in Florida to officially recognize Florida’s Emancipation Day as a County holiday through a unanimous vote of the Leon County Board of County Commissioners.
Over the years and across the state, our past links us to our present and future. We invite you to learn something new about Florida’s history and the events that shaped our community through our library resources and during local events hosted by our community partners.